Zardari, Karzai agree to reduce 'trust deficit'
29 September, 2012
NEW YORK: President Asif Zardari met his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York and discussed bilateral relations, situation in the region and peace process.
During his meeting with Karzai, they agreed to build trust and reduce trust deficit so that they could enhance cooperation in all fields, including intelligence sharing.
President Zardari said, "Pakistan believes that the destinies of the people of the two countries were intertwined and the two neighbours who are linked with historic cultural and religious bonds should work together in confronting the shared challenges and issues."
The president said Pakistan had abiding interest in peace, stability and socio-economic development of Afghanistan and would continue to support every effort of the international community in this regard.
He said that Pakistan was supportive of an Afghan-led and Afghan owned reconciliation process in the war-torn country.
Discussing common challenges and issues, President Zardari said that militancy, terrorism, narco-trade, illiteracy with less economic opportunities were among the main issues being confronted by the two countries but "we must join hands to overcome these issues".
The president said the goal of completely eliminating militancy and terrorism from the region would remain elusive until an enabling environment was created where the militancy was automatically defeated.
He said that education and provision of economic opportunities would be instrumental in winning the battle of hearts and minds and weaning away youth falling into the trap of militants.
The president also emphasised the need for the two countries to focus on financial mechanisms involved in funding the terrorist activities.
He said that there was a nexus between the large-scale heroin trade and terrorism, adding, "We must urgently cut this cord." The president said equally important in this quest was to offer alternatives to the people.
President Zardari said that hosting of an international conference on the issue of narco trade later this year by Pakistan was a measure of the commitment to collectively fight the menace and to promote real-time substantive cooperation for effectively addressing the issue of drug production and trafficking.
The president underlined the need for enhanced regional connectivity, saying that Pakistan was eager to extend Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) to Central Asian states for promoting trade and economic activities in the region.
He hoped that as a first step Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan would be able to sign the trilateral transit and trade agreement this year.
President Hamid Karzai thanked President Zardari for the assistance being provided by Pakistan to his country.
Besides discussing bilateral ties, regional situation and peace process in Afghanistan, the two leaders also exchanged views on the issues of international importance as well as the challenges facing Muslims.
Those present during the meeting from Pakistani side were Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Senator Dr Asim Hussain, Secretary General to the President Salman Faruqui, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman and Ambassador to China Masood Khan.
Afghan Foreign Minister Dr Zalmai Rassoul, High Peace Council chief Salauddin Rabbani and Ambassador to the United States Eklil Ahmad Hakimi were also present during the meeting.